True, my recent jaunt to Switzerland was a “work trip,” but really it was all about pushing my body to the limits and sufficiently freaking myself out.
Yes, that’s me above, dangling by two carabiners and little else—without being belayed, mind you—somewhere around 10,000 feet in the Alps. Full disclosure? It was AWESOME. Especially when the end result looked a little something like this:
But I digress. It was the day after our mountain biking excursion in St. Moritz, and we headed just down the road in the glorious Alps and up an aerial tram to Diavolezza. Half the group opted for a (vaguely strenuous) hike; the others of us (read: THE CRAZIES) decided to scale the mountain by way of rock and ladder steps bolted to the side of the mountain. Sounds like a grand plan, no?
Not when no one’s belaying you down below, and you’re relying solely on your own meager competence to clip on and off of every line without falter. Then? Then, you’re just downright insane.
But if you do so with a smile on your face, then people don’t seem to think twice about the lack of bolts and screws keeping things secure in your noggin. Nevertheless, it took us a good half an hour’s hike to get to the base of the glacier, from where we would ascend the Via Ferrata Piz Trovat.
From the base, we tackled a series of ladder-like steps mixed in with just plain climbing rocks, which we used to make our way around and up the mountain.
Sometimes I like to feign the attitude of a bad a$$, when in reality I’m scared out of my mind. You would be, too, if you looked down (camera in hand, no less) and saw this:
And that was on an “easy” leg of the climb at that. The harder areas were where we were moving horizontally and with no iron footholds either. Just loose rock, which had a long way down to tumble if left to its own devices. I continued to experience the odd sensation, though, of being terrified while looking ahead and making my way up the face, but being oddly pacified when I looked down to see the ground thousands of feet below me. It was strange, I will admit, this reverse effect.
Though, for me, nothing was scarier than the sight of this suspension bridge, a wobbly sucker.
So naturally, Rob and I, both possessing a bit of a daredevil streak, went across it—three times (and at the same time, too, which it strictly advises against more than one on the bridge at once)—so the videographers accompanying us could get great silhouette shots (which I will post if ever they send me the links!). Again, I’m always all about helping a fellow journalist out, holla.
You can’t tell it here with a lack of scale, but it’s a looooong way down.
Two hours and change later, we reached the summit, and there was wine waiting for us. Of course, in Switzerland, at 10,000 feet, there’s gonna be wine. Wouldn’t expect anything less.